♣️ Do you stand out in your market? - The Letter X

Mar 29, 2021 6:23 pm




Presented by: EPM


I want you to think about that as you are developing your brand and by extension your business.


At our recent #BrokerSuccess Summit in Atlanta, we had mortgage professionals from across the country join us for a two-day mastermind where we covered this topic. We hear the terms “value-prop” and “value-add” a lot when it comes to standing out differentiating yourself, but that is just surface level. What does it really mean?


Let’s start here: Value prop is NOT


-      Answering Your Phone

-      Being Responsive

-      Customer Experience

-      Competitive Rates

-      Digital POS


These things are important but are EXPECTED in today’s lending world. Also, there is no true differentiator in those from others in your market, with an understanding that all markets are not created equal so that in-fact may help you stand out (right now).


At the summit, we had Alan Christian talk about how his clients win 9 times out of 10 homes in a multiple offer situation due to his proactive video and listing communications. He is becoming known for this in his market and thus makes him stand out.


Barry Habib talked about the importance of being an advisor and focusing on the goals of the consumer, rather than the deal. He emphasized the difference in working a transaction and building a relationship. Becoming a trusted advisor will trump order takers every day of the week and twice on Sunday.


We had Chasity Graff talk about standing out by using Facebook to grow her brand, Jackie Dunlap talking about “being in the room” to grow as a professional, and many more awesome speakers who talked details in building a successful business that people know.


This next decade will be won by the experts and the advisors, and as a community of mortgage professionals, we need your help to make sure our industry endures in the current era of disruption.


There are plenty of resources, coaching, and training out there for those that want to take their business to the next level. I am making a commitment to be an unbiased and trusted resource to those that are looking for help on their journey.


Let’s win together and let’s start today. Enjoy this week!


Say Yes Every Day 

Laura Brandao - President of AFR Wholesale


This week Say YES to being YOU! Sometimes we tone ourselves down trying to fit into what others expect you to be but we are meant to be our authentic and full selves so this week lean into your full self by offering all of your gifts to the world.


Did you know that Laura Brandao wrote a book about Say Yes? Well she did and you can get your copy today by going here. Make your days better by Saying Yes!


Mortgage Professionals, You Can Learn From

Here is a list of awesome speakers who made EPM’s #BrokerSuccess Summit a smashing success and who you should consider asking to speak at your next event.

Jamie Cavanaugh

Jackie Dunlap

Michelle Dugan

Ashley Miller

Chasity Graff

Christine Beckwith

Katie Sweeney

Ginger Bell

Christopher Griffith

Scott Schang

Todd Bitter

Josh Lewis

Sam Parker

Alan Christian

Andres Munar

Evan Wade

Brian Vieaux

These are some of the future (and current) leaders of our industry, so take note!



Diana Bajramovic of MBS Highway


Last week was a relatively quiet economic news week, but we did get a handful of housing data. We also got exciting news that our very own Barry Habib has been named 2020 Crystal Ball Award winner by Zillow and Pulsenomics for the third time for the most accurate real estate forecasts out of more than 100 of the top economists in the U.S.! His 2020 win follows his prior two wins in 2016 and 2019. The MBS Highway team is extremely proud of Barry and I hope that you’ll join us in congratulating him!


Builder Confidence

The NAHB Housing Market Index, which measures builder confidence, came in on Tuesday and fell two points in March to a reading of 82; a reading above 50 signals expansion, and we are well above that level. Considering that this index was at a very high level, this is still a strong reading and may have fallen slightly because of higher rates. Buyer traffic remained strong as well. We can safely say that higher rates are not deterring buyers, rather, there is little to no inventory available for purchase.


New Construction

In the month of February, Housing Starts were down 10% month over month from January and down 9% on a year over year basis. Keep in mind that this includes single and multi-family homes. With more focus on single-family, starts were down 9% month over month and relatively flat year over year. The weather across the country, especially in the southern and western regions, could have been part of the reason for the decline last month. Overall, we would like to see more starts. Looking at permits, they were down lower as well by 11% month over month, but up 17% year over year. The more important single-family permits were down 10% month over month and up 15% year over year. We will start to see more houses built with permit numbers higher, which will be a good thing to see especially with inventory levels so tight. Also, housing units that are authorized to be built but not yet started are up 36% year over year!


We continue to monitor this data and more in our Daily Morning Update.


Have you joined the Mortgage X Mastermind yet? It is our FREE Facebook Group. 


The Vieaux

Brian Vieaux - President of FinLocker


Meeting The Self-Service Expectations of Tech-Savvy Millennials


Millennials were the largest group of homebuyers in 2020 (38%) (NAR). The trend will continue as a significant wave of millennials will be 30-35 in 2021, the prime homebuying age for first-time buyers.


Self-service technology is integrated into the daily habits of millennials. When they are online shopping, they often use reviews and comparison apps to find the best product and deal. They expect a seamless checkout experience and transparency on price and fees. It’s not surprising they have the same expectations when shopping and applying for a mortgage.


The first step of most millennial homebuyers as they begin the home buying process is to look online for properties for sale (43%), followed by looking online for information about the home buying process (17%), with few (7%) contacting a bank or mortgage lender first. Prospective millennial homebuyers are researching your business online before you even know they exist.


According to the STRATMOR Group, retail lenders spent $772 per loan on technology in 2020, up from $400 per loan in 2016. Yet borrowers are still expected to fax, scan and email reams of paperwork for their “digital” mortgage application. Repeatedly requesting documents to be resent only increases friction. Minimizing processing friction can maximize efficiency, reduce costs, and increase borrower satisfaction.


The Document storage and Share Center in FinLocker were designed to reduce the friction for borrowers to initiate their loan application directly with their lender when they have determined they are mortgage ready. As part of their nurturing process, a savvy lender will have provided their borrowers with a list of documents required for their application. This gives the borrower time to gather the correct documents and upload them to their FinLocker app to decide what data and documents to share for their loan application.


Millennial borrowers expect the convenience of self-service. Giving borrowers a platform they can choose to use on their mobile phone or desktop computer will positively start the loan process and ultimately deliver more efficiency, reduce risks and costs for the lender and its operations team.


Be Empowered

Quotes from Women in Business

“I want to be a lifelong student and get the opportunity to help others save time and pain from people that are coming up behind me.” – Jackie Dunlap


// Have you signed up for TLX-M? TLX Masters is a new opt-in membership where you can receive more specialized content from me on a more frequent basis. If you would like to sign up for the new subscription you can do so here. //


Bowtie Economist Quick Hits


The 193km long Suez Canal, which carries 12% of worldwide trade, 10% of all oil/day, and generates $15.9 million/day in transit fees from the 50 ships/day that sail through it, is impassable. One of the world’s largest container ships, the 400 meter (quarter mile!) long, Ever Given, lengthier than the Empire State building is tall, and carrying 20,000 containers, is wedged athwart the Canal, blocking all traffic.


This recession has upended three well-understood economic stories. First, the “Hollowing Out” of middle-income jobs at the expense of high- and low-income jobs has utterly stopped as the pandemic has crushed low-end employment. Second, the idea that metro areas steadily gain population faster than non-metros has been totally inverted. Third, evidence that recessions always hit men harder than women has been shown to be patently untrue in this recession.


Interest rates on long-bonds are the result of inflation expectations as well as prospects of future GDP growth. All else equal, higher anticipated impending inflation raises interest rates, as does better projected economic growth. If long-bonds rise because markets anticipate strong growth, that is good as better growth, higher employment, and more investment, can more than compensate for higher interest rates. If, however, rates rise because of inflation, ugh!


While you might think airlines make money flying people around, it’s their frequent flier programs and critically, the co-branded credit cards airlines issue, and for which they collect a hefty fee on each purchase, where airlines clean up. Yes, customers earn miles, but airlines put such fliers on empty seats, and data show fliers overpay for the “free” trips. In essence, airlines help banks attract customers for a high fee.


Non-QM X: Highly Qualified Non-QM News

Tom Hutchens

EVP of Production at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions

Over the past year, homebuyers took advantage of the low interest rate environment and refinancing took off as a result. Over the past few months rising rates are having a big impact on the number of homeowners looking to refinance.

According to CNBC, refi applications fell 39% compared to this time last

year. That means that the purchase market is officially making a comeback. If

you’re a broker who was focused on refinancing, now is the time to seriously

consider adding non-QM to your product line-up. 


is primarily a purchase product. There are a slew of products ranging from the

most popular, bank statement mortgage, to products for investors, loans for

individuals with recent credit-dings and more. Not to mention, the speed and

level of service non-QM lenders like us offer has improved dramatically over

the past several years.  

That’s why brokers who incorporate non-QM now have an advantage over the competition. Those who prioritize growing their purchase volume utilizing non-QM, while also closing what's left of refi deals, will be well ahead of the competition. 

There is a consistent forecast that the refinance boom is going to ease in 2021, and non-QM is the most effective way to replace that lost business. If you’re

looking for another pipeline of growth for your mortgage business, please feel

free to reach out.


The Edumarketer

Ginger Bell - Author, Speaker, and found of Edumarketing


Don’t Worry About Doing Recording Your Video in One Take

One of the biggest time wasters when recording a video is trying to get it done in one take. You start recording and then suddenly you forget what you were going to say or you want to say something better. You don’t have to go back and start from the beginning!  Try this instead.

Let’s say you’re recording and you make it about half way through the script and you mess up. Instead of going back and starting at the beginning of the script, go back to where you made the mistake. If you mess up, remember to pause, look at the camera and then start again. The pauses help when it comes to editing.

Not only does this help in the post-production process, this also saves you a lot of time and stress! You don’t have to worry about spending too much time on one video because you keep messing up and have to start all over again.


That’s the magic of editing, you can edit those two takes together, throw some b roll on top of it to hide the jump cut and bam you have your final video.

Another reason to shoot multiple takes is so you have a few different shots to choose from. There have been numerous times where I’ve recorded a video in only one take, sat down to edit it and wish that I had taken a few more recordings. Having the option to edit multiple takes together allows for less awkward moments in the video, while also saving time because you won’t have to set up your recording equipment again. This isn’t a must, but it sure does help during the editing process.


Beyond The Numbers

Fobby Naghmi, EVP, National Sales Mgr. of First Option Mortgage


Have you ever thought about something as simple as “The Moment”? Like this exact moment? Right here, right now? If you have, just an FYI, from the time you started reading this sentence to this exact word, we have moved to a different moment. Pretty quick, right?


So what can we do to stay in the moment? 


Start by recognizing that the moment is right where my breath is. When I can focus on my breathing, I can create an anchor to the moment. When I focus on my breathing, the noise in my head becomes less noisy. So why is it so hard to stay in the moment?


I found that there were two main emotions I was dealing with when I left the moment. If I was thinking of my yesterdays, I was feeling a certain nostalgia and/or a sadness. When I begin to think of my tomorrows, that was usually packed with feeling anxious.  Either way, both feelings are uncomfortable. But they provided me with energy that I felt I needed. I was not going to be left behind or left out. 


What I had failed to realize was that the negative emotional energy I had been using was raw and unfiltered. Once I started focusing on the moment and what was right in front of me, I had more energy. I was no longer having conversations in my head about future events that may or may not happen. I was no longer trying to fix a mistake I had made 13 years ago. I was now burning clean energy and my life became more full and complete.  Simply by staying in the moment, one breath at a time.


 Mortgage X Marketing Manifesto

Andew Pawlak, CEO of Leadpops

Don't Forget: It's ALL Connected


When it comes to marketing, attribution can be a big challenge. 


That means figuring out what's really driving lead conversions, and more importantly: closings/sales.


A lot of people don't think beyond "last click" — but that's where costly mistakes are made in terms of deciding what to cut out and what to double down on. 


For example, when you're running ads on Facebook (or anywhere), your reviews and reputation on Google matter and will impact the ROI on those Facebook ads. 


So too will having a website that's optimized for lead conversion.


Consumers are often going from one platform to another, doing their research before they ever convert (provide their information online, or call/text).


Make sure ALL the places they see and find you are optimized so that conversion is as easy and frictionless as possible.


Thanks, and I'll catch you on next week's The Letter X!


I hope you enjoyed TLX #45! Now go crush this week!